1954 Ford Customline & Mainline These were the choices when you bought a Ford V8 in Australia in 1954, left the Customline four door sedan, and right, the Mainline ‘ute’ (or coupe utility). In the USA you had a choice of 14 models, the ‘coupe ute’ was not available there until 1957 when introduced there in 1957 as the Ranchero (see Restored Cars # 114). The Mainline however was available in North America, it was the low priced sedan and was available in Fordor aTudor models as well as a wagon
Photo left The interior and dash of the Customline was much the same as the Mainline, except the Mainline’s seat back could be tilted forward for access to the spare tyre, jack and tools. Leather seating was standard with matching vinyl on the door trim and a lighter colored head liner, with black rubber floor mats at the front.
Photo below Was this the last sidevalve V8 used in the world? Not quite, they soldiered on in French and Brazilian Simcas until the 1960’s
(see Restored Cars #139)
The first OHV V8 used in USA modelshad the same capacity as the sidevalve engines but developed 130hp
From the rear the Customline shows a stainless steel flatter side trim that runs almost the entire length of the car, whereas in 1952 and 1953 models they are in two pieces, a front piece and a rear section. Over the three years from 1952 the bodies were the same but the trim and some badging differed
The Mainline utility rear window is the same design as from the 1940’s, an oval unit with a slight curve in tempered glass. The window first appeared in 1941 in North American coupes and sedans, continuing on until 1948.
It was used in utes in Australia from 1946 to 1954, but looked dated in the latter years. The tarp kept the load space weatherproof but soon shrunk on original models making it difficult to clip in place. The oval tail lamps, unique to 1952- 54 Mainlines, had no built in reflectors, hence they were accessory additions when they became mandatory across Australia ion 1954.
The factory RHD dashboard was similar to the 1952- 53 models, metal with wood-grain applied. This was unique to Australia. 1954 was the last year wood grain paint work was used on the dashboard and window trim. In the USA they received a new dashboard in 1954 that more closely resembled the 1955 models. American Ford dashboards from 1949 were usually painted metallic colours.
For 1950 slight alterations were made. To the untrained, the 1950 models look like 1949 models. However Ford’s advertising for their new model was ’50 Ways New Ford For ’50’. Again 1951 Fords were slightly revised, the main visible feature being the ‘twin spinner’ grille theme. 1951 Fords were the final model based on the original 1949 body. Model year production figures were 1949 1,118,762 – 1950 1,209,549 – 1951 1,013, 381 One can see that these models were very successful for Ford. Unlike Chevrolet who decided to get one more year’s worth out of their 1949 body. F Ford decided to go for an all new model for 1952. One of the main styling features was the introduction of a single curved windscreen placing the twin flat screens in the 1949-51 models (it is interesting to note that rival Chevrolet had a curved windscreen since 19, however it was in two pieces). 1952 was also the year that Ford introduced their round ‘trademark’ tail lights which became a Ford tradition from 1952 to 1964, only missing the 1958 and 1960 big Fords